Saturday, January 31, 2015


It's time for a giveaway!

Gardener's Weather Bible by Sally Roth
Found this book at a used book store recently and picked up two copies, one for our library at the farm and a copy to give away.  

Here is the Amazon link if you'd like to more information on the book:

The book is by author Sally Roth.  It includes great tips on how to use the weather to your advantage in the garden year round and learn how weather affects everything.  For example, when to protect from frost and when not to worry about it...learn how to listen to bird songs for upcoming weather...even how plants can help predict the weather.

As always (and for those new to the blog) the rules are as follows:

We'd like you to be a friend of the farm" (we love having followers) but that's not required.  Please leave a comment here on this thread letting us know that you want to be entered.  Remember, be sure your name or your user name is on your comment so that we can have something to write down on the slips of paper when we have the drawing.

The contest will run for one week, until 11:59pm, next Sunday night, the end of the weekend.  At that time, we'll randomly pick one winner, post the results  and the winner will need to email us with their shipping address at that time.  

We'll ship your book directly to you within a few days.

Sorry, due to international shipping cost of such a heavy book, it's only open to US and Canada residents.

One entry per person.

Thanks and good luck!

Friday, January 30, 2015


Astrodome in Houston, TX
Recently, we went to an event that was near the Astrodome.  I always love seeing this old stadium, often dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World.  There is a lot of controversy here in Houston about whether to tear it down or turn it into something else (they built a larger, new stadium next to it about 10 years ago).  Call us nostalgic, but we vote for turning it into something else.  One option discussed is a gigantic indoor park with gardens.  That would be really cool.

Tonka Truck for real
 No, we didn't buy a truck but how neat is this Ford F150 special conversion?  It's a real life Tonka Truck!  While it would be awesome as a farm truck, alas the price tag limits THAT idea!

I always like seeing plant arrangements in displays and parking lot planting areas.  These were colorful and pretty in the middle of January.

For those who remember dear, sweet Granny, over at Annie's Kitchen Garden, her daughter Amy has posted an update on the family and how they've been doing since Granny's passing.  Click HERE to read the update on her beautiful family.  Granny is still missed in the garden blogging world.  

While we've enjoyed unseasonably warm weather of late (almost 80 the other day!), cold weather is coming back...and along with that, rain.  Saturday is supposed to be nice(ish) but then Sunday is 80% chance of rain.


Back of couch sleeping 
Sometimes we wonder, do cats just roam around until they can't hold their eyes open any longer and then just go to sleep wherever they happen to be?  

Sometimes they can find the most interesting places.  This is Hobart sleeping on the back of a small couch we used to have.  It was a pretty steep incline...and not very comfortable, which is why we got rid of it, but I digress.  Somehow though, he made it work.  I think he might be cheating though, the other front leg is hooked in with claws on the back side, ha.  

More later this afternoon!

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Vine covered arbor, image courtesy of
We are really fascinated by this arbor.  We have the entrance to our garden of course, with a gate, where we could put something like this, but I'm afraid it might be a bit overwhelming.  2nd Man suggested an arbor like this as an "entrance" to an area of the property...almost like creating a secret garden entrance to a special area.  

That's a great idea.  In fact, if we could create several of these someday, they could be scattered around different places on the farm to create all sorts of doorways to 'other plant worlds', ha.  It would be a great way to walk from one area into another area.  Can't be too hard I would hope?  Build/create an arbor and then plant on one or both sides?  Someday!

Be inspired!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


One dish we love is Pho.  It's a Vietnamese noodle soup with seasonings, veggies, herbs and meat, usually beef or chicken.  It looks complicated when you get it at a restaurant but we make a pretty quick and easy version.

First, we get some rice noodles and put a few ounces in a large bowl.  Boiling water 'cooks' them.  We top that with some chicken bouillon powder (sometimes we use beef) and a few seasonings.  These can be whatever you like, garlic power, onion powder, parsley, etc.

Next, we add some vegetables.  This is actually a shredded mix that's already done at the grocery store, a broccoli and carrot slaw.  It's a way to make this even more quick and easy.

Then we add some meat.  This is frozen (but thawed), thinly sliced, cooked meatballs (homemade).  We always keep some in the freezer for quick meals and this is one reason.  We use about five meatballs per bowl, sliced up.  You could also use cooked chicken or beef strips, or skip it and make it vegetarian.

On top of the meat, we add some sliced up green onions, sprouts and cilantro.  Again, very quick and easy to chop up ingredients.  Also pretty inexpensive.  They are really to taste, whatever you like.

We sprinkle on a few more pieces of shredded carrots and broccoli for some more color and a bit more crunch.

While all the ingredients are being put in the bowl, we have a kettle of water coming to a boil on the stove.  Once it's boiling, we pour it over the ingredients in the bowl and fill it up to the top. 

Everything needs to sit for a few minutes to soften up of course.  We are lucky, we have small plates that cover the top of the bowls, but you could use Saran wrap or even foil.  This keeps the heat in and helps everything steep and soften up.

After about 6 or 7 minutes, it's all done!  Here, we sprinkled some micro-greens on top and a splash of soy sauce.  In another variation, we use a squirt of lime juice and fresh cilantro leaves.  It's really whatever you like.  Sriracha sauce is a great addition, as well as Oyster sauce.  All of this could also be put into a pan on the stove and brought to a boil but hey, we like this because it's quick and easy after a long day at work.  Who needs Ramen noodles when you can have this?  Sure, it's probably not authentic Pho, but we love it and it's oh so good on a cold evening. It's healthy, inexpensive and definitely filling.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Avert your eyes if spiders bother you...

You have been warned...

Saw this lady (the females are always the larger, more colorful of the species), building a web near the mower shed.  I just had to get a closeup picture...

Banana Spider
Definitely intimidating!

She is called a Banana Spider, also known as a Golden Orb Spider.  While I did not put my hand TOO close, she is about the size of my palm.  I didn't show it in person to 2nd Man, instead I showed him the pictures.  He looked and went "what the hell?  It's like we live in the rain forest!!"  

We don't mind sharing the property with her and as scary as they look, they are not poisonous.  A bite can cause irritation and pain like a bee sting, but it only lasts a day or two.  In rare cases it can cause an allergic reaction but for the most part, it's not terribly aggressive.  The upside is that they do catch and kill fruit flies and other bugs.  

What about you?
Do spiders creep you out or do you (perhaps reluctantly?) share your lives with them?

Monday, January 26, 2015


The first thing to scratch off "the list"

Siding with mildew
A while back, I asked for info on cleaning the house siding.  It was one of those projects that we kept putting on the back burner, especially as it got hotter and hotter in the Summer.  To be quite honest, it was the back of the house, no one would see it except us, so it wasn't that important.  But now that I have a pocket of time, I chose to tackle it.  I decided to just try some diluted bleach and water in a spray bottle.  Above is before...

Clean siding
...and here is after.

Not too bad (if I do say so myself, ha).  I tried using vinegar but that didn't work as well and required much more scrubbing.  I didn't want to use a lot of bleach so I just mixed some in a spray bottle with water, put on some gloves, got a scrub brush and a bucket of fresh water for rinsing and started.  It wasn't difficult at all and it cleaned up nicely.  I even went around the house scrubbing in other spots and now the whole thing is white and clean looking.  One of the perils of a white or light colored house I suppose.

We're hoping that will be it for this season.  It was mostly on the North side of the house, which of course gets less sun.  It's nice to have it clean again, just in time for Spring.  

What about you?
Do you clean the outside of your house often?

Sunday, January 25, 2015


This poster image comes from Canada and dates just after WWI.  This was part of a marketing campaign where Canada tried to increase immigration from Britain by bringing young migrants to the country.  They offered free passage, good wages, farm instruction, and assistant to buy their own farm. 

Interesting that they pushed this type of immigration to create farms across the country.  I wonder how many young men took them up on this offer?

Hope you are having a good weekend, we have had a productive one.  Sadly, the ground is still SO wet from yet more rain so not much being done in the garden to prep for Spring but that can come in the next few weeks.  But we have crossed a couple of things off THE LIST, ha.  

More later this evening!